Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/24/2014

Three Afghan soldiers who were participating in a joint military exercise at Camp Edwards on Cape Cod visited a strip club with other soldiers the night before they deserted. They were apprehended two days later by immigration officials at Niagara Falls when they attempted to cross over into Canada.

In other news, the latest American air strikes against the Islamic State targeted oil refineries controlled by ISIS. Meanwhile, an ISIS-linked jihad group in Algeria beheaded a French hostage when the French government refused its demand to end support for US air strikes in Syria.

To see the headlines and the articles, click “Continue reading” below.

Thanks to C. Cantoni, Fjordman, Insubria, LS, and all the other tipsters who sent these in.

Notice to tipsters: Please don’t submit extensive excerpts from articles that have been posted behind a subscription firewall, or are otherwise under copyright protection.

Caveat: Articles in the news feed are posted “as is”. Gates of Vienna cannot vouch for the authenticity or accuracy of the contents of any individual item posted here. We check each entry to make sure it is relatively interesting, not patently offensive, and at least superficially plausible. The link to the original is included with each item’s title. Further research and verification are left to the reader.

Financial Crisis
» German Central Bank Head Weidmann: ‘The Euro Crisis is Not Yet Behind Us’
» Italy: Draghi Says No Risk of Eurozone Deflation, Recession
» Trial Requested for 6 S&P Managers Over Italy Reports
» New Horizons Spies Pluto’s Tiny Moon Hydra
» Only 36 Percent of Americans Can Name the Three Branches of Government
» Three Afghan Soldiers Visited a Strip Club the Night Before They Deserted U.S. Military Base and Tried to Cross Into Canada
Europe and the EU
» Denmark: Threat of Terror on the Rise
» EU to Remove Kurdish Group From Terror List
» Fears for Scandinavian Teens Joining ISIS
» Flow of EU Combatants to ISIS ‘Never Been Greater’
» Humanity Has More Mothers Than Fathers, DNA Reveals
» IS-Linked Group Beheads Frenchman Abducted in Algeria: Video
» Italy: PD Rebels to File Seven Jobs Act Amendments
» Italy: Billion-Euro Fraud for Terrorism Uncovered in Milan
» Italy: House Approves Motion to Halve F-35 Budget
» Italy: Imam in Andria Sentenced for Terrorism
» Norway’s Kids Joining the War in Syria: PST
» Spain: Cheap Solar Cells Tempt Businesses
» Sweden: No Proof That Elks Get Drunk
» Sweden: Police Arrest Man on Charges of Genocide
» Kuwaiti Investors Aim to be More Present in Serbia
North Africa
» French Kidnapping Marks ISIS Debut in the Mediterranean
» ISIS-Linked Group Beheads French Hostage in Video
» Libyan Premier Orders Military Mobilization to Free Tripoli
Middle East
» Hijab Hubbub Leads to Qatar Women’s Basketball Team Forfeit
» Italy to Supply Training, In-Flight Refueling in ISIS Bid
» Pentagon: New Airstrikes Target Refineries Used by ISIS in Syria
» Renzi Says Mobilisation Against ISIS, Not Against Islam
» Syrian Rebels Deny Existence of Khorasan Terror Group
» Turkey Lifts Headscarf Ban in State High Schools
» Turkey: What Ally?
» U.N. Security Council Blacklists Foreign Fighters, Recruiters
» Russian Magnate Rotenberg’s Italian Assets Frozen
South Asia
» India Joins Elite Mars Club
Far East
» Philippines Jihadist Group Threatens to Kill German Hostages
» Pope Says Church Must Combat Hostility to Migrants
» UK: Gang Offers to Arrange Sham Gay Weddings for Immigration Cheats

German Central Bank Head Weidmann: ‘The Euro Crisis is Not Yet Behind Us’

An extended period of calm on the bond markets has led many to conclude the euro crisis is over. But German central bank head Jens Weidmann says in an interview that the coast still isn’t clear and that there is still great need for reforms.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: Draghi Says No Risk of Eurozone Deflation, Recession

ECB head calls for structural reforms by government

(ANSA) — Rome, September 24 — European Central Bank President Mario Draghi said Wednesday that he sees no risk of recession or deflation across the eurozone — but inflation will remain muted for an extended period.

“The eurozone is not in recession but recovery is modest, weak and fragile,” he said in an interview with Europe 1 radio.

Italy, the eurozone’s third-largest economy, is in recession and in August reported deflation as the consumer price index slipped into negative territory.

Unemployment remains a greater risk to the eurozone than deflation, said Draghi.

And he repeated his call for structural reforms by government, saying that monetary policy can help growth by injecting cash — but that alone is not enough.

Rigid bureaucracies, high taxes, and red tape that ties up businesses strangle growth and discourage the new investment essential for economic expansion, said Draghi.

“We can guarantee all the credit possible, but if in some countries it takes a young entrepreneur months before obtaining permits and authorizations to open a new store, in the end he will not request credit,” Draghi added.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Trial Requested for 6 S&P Managers Over Italy Reports

Suspects accused of market manipulation

(ANSA) — Trani, September 22 — Prosecutors in Trani on Monday asked a judge to send six managers and analysts from rating agency Standard & Poor’s to trial for allegedly deliberately misleading the market with reports on Italy between May 2011 and January 2012. These reports include one from January 12, 2012, in which S&P downgraded Italy’s sovereign debt rating by two notches from A to BBB+. The period under consideration refers to the peak of the eurozone debt crisis, when Italy looked in danger of a Greek-style financial meltdown.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

New Horizons Spies Pluto’s Tiny Moon Hydra

NASA’s New Horizons spacecraft may still be 10 months from its historic flyby with dwarf planet Pluto, but it is making good use of its interplanetary cruise to get familiar with its flyby target by imaging Pluto’s outermost moon Hydra.

Interestingly, mission scientists didn’t expect to see the moon, which is estimated to be between 19-52 miles wide, as New Horizons was a whopping 267 million miles from the target. So the fact LORRI and the imaging techniques employed were able to detect such a faint target has reassured the team that they should be able to spot any hazardous objects well ahead of time.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Only 36 Percent of Americans Can Name the Three Branches of Government

Wednesday marked national Constitution Day, the 227th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. But only 36 percent of Americans can actually name the three branches of government the Constitution created.

That’s according to a new survey from the Annenberg Public Policy Center, and it shows a huge percentage of Americans might need to take a civics refresher course.

Only 38 percent of Americans knew the Republican Party controls the U.S. House of Representatives, while 17 percent think Democrats are still in charge. The number of people who knew Republicans were in charge has dropped 17 percent since the last time Annenberg asked, back in 2011, right after Republicans reclaimed control.

An identical number, 38 percent, knows Democrats run the Senate, while 20 percent believe Republicans control the upper chamber. Only 27 percent knew it takes a two-thirds majority of the House and Senate to override a presidential veto.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Three Afghan Soldiers Visited a Strip Club the Night Before They Deserted U.S. Military Base and Tried to Cross Into Canada

The night before they disappeared and tried to cross the border into Canada, three Afghan soldiers went out to a Massachusetts strip club, where they ordered lap dances and tried to touch the women.

Major Jan Mohammad Arash, Captain Mohammad Nasir Askarzada and Captain Noorullah Aminyar went missing from Cape Cod on Saturday, where they were participating in a joint military exercise at Camp Edwards.

Immigration officials arrested them two days later, on the New York-side of Niagara Falls, trying to make their way into Canada.

On Friday night, the three soldiers were part of a larger group that visited Zachary’s Pub, a strip club in Mashpee.

The group stayed at the club until early Saturday, and the bar’s staff say they acted pretty normal.

‘They were nice, they tipped, they were very generous, they were sweet respectful,’ dancer Melissa McNeely told WHDH.

‘I ended up doing a lap dance for one of the guys and he stayed as still as a statue,’ Ms McNeely added…

           — Hat tip: LS [Return to headlines]

Denmark: Threat of Terror on the Rise

Martin Lidegaard, the foreign minster, called it “highly uncomfortable” that Denmark is mentioned as one of the countries targeted in the latest video released by the terrorist group Islamic State (IS).

The UN said that the risk of terrorist attacks increases in Denmark and other Western countries as IS grows in strength. Lidegaard said that is all the more reason for Denmark to remain in the coalition fighting against the terrorists.

“Of course it is highly uncomfortable that Denmark’s name is mentioned,” Lidegaard told Ekstra Bladet. “That’s why it is incredibly important that we show international solidarity, and that there are as many countries as possible in the coalition.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

EU to Remove Kurdish Group From Terror List

(AGI) Brussels, Sept 24 — The Kurdistan Workers’ Party, the PKK, will be removed from the European Union’s list of terrorist groups as soon as the peace process with Turkey has been completed, said Gilles de Kerchove, the EU’s Counter-terrorism Coordinator, during testimony before the European Parliament’s Defence sub-committee.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Fears for Scandinavian Teens Joining ISIS

The number of young Europeans fighting for the Isis has increased dramatically in the past month with fears that Swedes, Norwegians and Danes are among them.

Just over a month ago a Swedish terrorism expert — Magnus Ranstorp — estimated that between 300 and 350 Scandinavians had links to Isis.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Flow of EU Combatants to ISIS ‘Never Been Greater’

More women joining up says EU counter-terror chief

(ANSA) — Brussels, September 24 — The flow of fighters from the European Union to join the ranks of the Islamic State (ISIS) fundamentalist militia has never been greater, European Union Counter-Terrorism Coordinator Gilles de Kerckhove told a European Parliament foreign affairs committee hearing Wednesday.

ISIS currently numbers 31,000 fighters, has the capacity to control water and oil supplies, and finances itself to the tune of $2 million a day thanks to oil racketeering, according to de Kerckhove.

An estimated 3,000 men and women have left Europe to join ISIS on the front lines in Syria and Iraq, he added.

More and more women are joining up, some because they won’t be parted from their male relatives and some to take on logistical and military roles, de Kerckhove told the committee. “ISIS is a true threat to the international community,” he said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Humanity Has More Mothers Than Fathers, DNA Reveals

Mothers outnumbered fathers throughout much of human history, a new DNA analysis of people around the world shows.

The genetic findings offer evidence for polygyny, when one man has many wives, and other reproductive customs, as people migrated out of Africa.

“(Historically) more of the women were reproducing than the men,” study researcher Mark Stoneking, a professor of biological anthropology at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, told Live Science in an email. “This often happens in human societies, because not all men are able to afford wives, or sometimes a few men will have many wives.”

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

IS-Linked Group Beheads Frenchman Abducted in Algeria: Video

(AFP) — Jihadists linked to the Islamic State group beheaded a Frenchman abducted in Algeria in a video posted online on Wednesday, after giving a 24-hour deadline to Paris.

Herve Gourdel, a 55-year-old hiker from the southern French city of Nice, was kidnapped on Sunday by Jund al-Khilifa, which demanded France stop its air strikes against IS in Iraq.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy: PD Rebels to File Seven Jobs Act Amendments

Dissenters request meeting with premier to ‘talk unity’

(ANSA) — Rome, September 23 — A dissenting minority of as many as 38 MPs from Premier Matteo Renzi’s Democratic Party (PD) said Tuesday it will file seven amendments to an enabling law on the premier’s Jobs Act. The Jobs Act, which has been approved at the committee stage, progressively raises safeguards for new hires, slashes the plethora of temp contracts currently plaguing entry workers, and establishes a minimum wage and universal unemployment benefit.

It also scales back protections contained in Article 18 of the 1970 Workers Statute, which says unfairly dismissed workers have a right to be reinstated.

The minority group, which opposes scaling back Article 18, has proposed a compromise solution that would include both the premier’s contract with progressively more protections and the right to be reinstated in case of unfair dismissal, but after the first three years on the job.

Also on Tuesday, the dissenters requested a meeting with the premier — who is attending a UN climate conference in New York — to discuss a unified labor policy statement.

If Renzi won’t budge, the rebels might ask the PD rank and file to have their say via referendum, dissenting PD Senators said.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Billion-Euro Fraud for Terrorism Uncovered in Milan

Accountant raised alert about suspicious transfers

(ANSA) — Milan, September 24 — Milan public prosecutors uncovered a billion-euro fraud scheme that may be funding Islamic terrorists, Italian daily Corriere della Sera reported Wednesday.

Following complaints from a Milan accountant of suspicious financial transactions, intelligence authorities cross-checked accounts with documents seized in a 2010 Taliban raid, uncovering a monumental money transfer organization.

Some 38 people with ties to Anglo-Pakistani and French-Israel groups are suspects in the alleged fraud scheme, which authorities said includes the illicit transfer of value-added tax to accounts in Cyprus, Hong Kong and Dubai.

As well, funds were allegedly converted into luxury goods such as diamonds and real estate for use in financing armed groups. Eleven suspects are being sought by authorities.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: House Approves Motion to Halve F-35 Budget

Italy current plans to order 90 Lockheed Martin jets

(ANSA) — Rome, September 24 — The Lower House on Wednesday approved a motion committing the government to reviewing its budget for the F-35 fighter jet “with the final aim of halving the financial budget originally planned”. The motion was approved by the parties supporting Premier Matteo Renzi’s government and the opposition centre-right Forza Italia (FI). In 2002 Rome agreed to buy 131 jets but it cut the order to 90 in 2012, saving the country some five billion euros, according to some estimates.

Allies, including the United States, have urged Italy to maintain its plans to buy 90 of the aircraft, which manufacturer Lockheed Martin said will cost about $108 million each.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Italy: Imam in Andria Sentenced for Terrorism

(AGI) — Bari, Sept. 24 — Five people have been sentences to between three and five years in prison in a trial held in Bari.

The five defendants, charged with forming an international criminal terrorist association of Islamist origin, included Hachemi Ben Hassen Hosni, formerly an Imam in the town of Andria, who was sentenced to five years and two months in prison while all the others were sentenced to three years and four months.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Norway’s Kids Joining the War in Syria: PST

The Norwegian Police Security Service claim children have travelled to Syria from Norway to join the fight for Isis, as the US-led coalition began air strikes to wipe out terror threats in the Middle East on Tuesday.

PST (Politiets Sikkerhetstjeneste) knows of Norwegian children having travelled or tried travelling to Syria, claimed Martin Bernsen, communication consultant for PST in a report by Nettavisen.

His statement comes after German authorities this weekend revealed they know of at least 24 German children who travelled to the Middle East to join rebel group Isis in Syria and Iraq.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Spain: Cheap Solar Cells Tempt Businesses

Olga Malinkiewicz, a PhD student studying photovoltaics at the University of Valencia in Spain, first heard about perovskites, the latest hope for low-cost solar power, in April last year. Unlike the slabs of purified silicon at the heart of the solar cells that currently dominate the market, perov­skites form thin films that are easily made in the lab by mixing together cheap salts. “I couldn’t believe it was so simple,” says Malinkiewicz, who immediately tried it herself.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: No Proof That Elks Get Drunk

The “drunken” Swedish elks that get so much attention this time of year may be a myth.

Swedish Radio Science News asked about a dozen researchers, and many say the 200-550 kg animals are simply too large to get drunk on the amount of fermented apples they are reported to eat.

Professor Petter Kjellander, expert on wild animals at the agricultural university SLU, says that neither he nor the colleagues he asked has ever come across a test confirming high blood alcohol in an elk.

Despite thousands of people all over the world reading about the aggressive “drunk” Swedish elks Petter Kjellander speculates the animals might simply be protecting their stashes of tasty fallen fruit.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Sweden: Police Arrest Man on Charges of Genocide

A 59-year-old man from central Sweden has been arrested on suspicion of involvement in Rwanda’s 1994 genocide, newspaper Expressen reports.

The man is believed to have been involved in the 100-day massacre that began in April 1994 and left some 800,000 dead. He is registered at an address in central Sweden and was born in Rwanda, coming to Sweden in 2002.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Kuwaiti Investors Aim to be More Present in Serbia

(ANSAmed) — BELGRADE, 23 SEPTEMBER — Maja Gojkovic, Serbian parliament speaker, stated on Tuesday in the talks with a delegation of the Kuwait’s Parliament that she expects the government’s economic reforms to attract foreign investors, and expressed belief that Kuwaiti investors will be interested in investing in Serbia.

“Serbia is undergoing a process of reform and adoption of laws which would make it the region’s most attractive destination for investors. I am sure that Kuwaiti investors would be interested in a more pronounced presence in Serbia”, said Gojkovic at the meeting with the Head of the Kuwaiti Parliamentary Friendship Group with Serbia, Faisal Fahad Al-Shaya.

Gojkovic said that Tuesday’s meeting shows that Serbia would like to expand overall cooperation with the State of Kuwait, with a special focus on economic cooperation, the Serbian speaker’s press office released. Faisal Fahad Al-Shaya said that Serbia has ample potential to become attractive for investors, adding that there is room to promote economic cooperation and trade between the two countries, and that he expects the Mixed Commission for Economic Cooperation to stimulate its development.

The officials also pointed out that there is room to promote cooperation in the spheres of health care, agriculture, food, machine and military industry.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

French Kidnapping Marks ISIS Debut in the Mediterranean

Jihadist group leaves al-Qaeda for Islamic State

(by Diego Minuti) (ANSAmed) — ROME, SEPTEMBER 23 — Beyond fear for the life of the French tourist kidnapped in the conflict-ridden Kabylia region of Algeria, the kidnapping of Herve’ Pierre Gourdel by a group claiming to be allied with the Islamic State opened a new scenario on jihadist terrorism that debuted in the Mediterranean as of Sunday.

Algeria has been at war with terrorism without interruption since the early 1990s, when a military putsch eliminated an electoral victory by the Islamist party. Terrorism in Algeria has always remained deeply rooted to the territory, although the return of hundreds of ex-combatants who fought among the Taliban gave a qualitative leap in tactics and strategies.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

ISIS-Linked Group Beheads French Hostage in Video

Hollande, France will never give in, air strikes will continue

(ANSAmed) — PARIS, SEPTEMBER 24 — An Islamic State (IS)-linked group in Algeria released a video on Wednesday claiming to have executed a Frenchman taken hostage over the weekend. The video ends with the terrorists holding the cut head of Hervè Gourdel, a 55-year old alpine guide.

The video by Jund Al-Khalifa, an alleged affiliate of the jihadist group currently being targeted by US-led airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, is entitled ‘Blood Message for the French Government’ and shows the beheading of Gourdel. “It’s our revenge against the French crusade aggression to the caliphate”, the terrorists say in the video.

On Monday the group had threatened to kill the 55-year-old, who was taken hostage in the Algerian mountains, if France did not halt the airstrikes on IS positions in Iraq. On Tuesday, French president Francois Hollande clearly said that despite the seriousness of the situation, the country would not give in to the ‘blackmail’ of terrorists. Over the weekend IS spokesman Abu Muhammed Al Adnani targeted France in particular in a video message. France is the only European country to have launched airstrikes against IS as part of the US-led coalition.

Speaking in New York on Wednesday, French president Francois Hollande said that “France will never give in to terrorism, as is its duty and its honor”.

He added that “this attack strengthens my resolve” to fight terrorism, confirming that military operations in Iraq would continue and that he would be calling a meeting of the Council of Defense on Thursday in Paris. “We will continue to fight terrorism everywhere and especially against the Islamic State (IS), which is bringing death to Iraq and Syria, persecuting religious minorities, raping and beheading.” He added that “airstrikes will continue for all the time necessary. I want all possible measures to be taken to ensure the security of French nationals, both in France and around the world.”

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Libyan Premier Orders Military Mobilization to Free Tripoli

Camp of jihadist leader bombed, city regained in southwest

(ANSAmed) — CAIRO, SEPTEMBER 24 — Libyan Prime Minister Abdullah al-Thani has ordered “a general mobilization of the armed forces at the request of the people of Tripoli to free the capital from the Islamic militias of Operation Alba (Faraj),” Libyan media reported Wednesday. The government led by Thani had been confirmed one day prior in a parliament vote of confidence.

Libya’s intergovernmental forces claim to have bombed the camp of Abu Obaida al-Libi, leader of the Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia, in Tripoli. “We hit hard,” a military official told ANSA. In addition, the military “won after hard fighting in El Azizia, in the Warshefana, southwest of the capital, freeing it from the pro-Islamic militias,” a Libyan military source told ANSA. The city is considered strategic as a crossroads for trade in western Libya. The Warshefana area has seen weeks of bloody fighting between rival militias. The Libyan Parliament, forced to meet in Tobruk, warned Wednesday of the risk of humanitarian catastrophe in the area. Dozens have been killed.

The Libyan parliament called for a ceasefire and asked the United Nations to travel to the area to evacuate women, children and handicapped, and to ensure airlift. Weeks ago, Misrata militias attacked the area, considered at the time a stronghold of Gaddafi loyalists.

Meanwhile, Ansar al-Sharia’s trail of blood lengthens in Benghazi. In recent hours, eight have been left dead including a number of civilians. Last week, on what is now called “Black Friday”, 14 people were killed in Benghazi, including two adolescent activists. On Wednesday, a civil contractor and two colonels were also assassinated there. Ansar al-Sharia’s campaign of targeted killings aim to silence all critical voices in the city and weaken popular opposition to the movement.

A few days ago, a paid hitman hired by the jihadists was killed by roughly 50 armed civilians, who also repelled a convoy of pickup trucks bearing Ansar’s black flags that tried to rescue the killer.

As for the Ansar leader in Tripoli, Abu Obaida al-Libi, it should be emphasized that the man, arrested in Egypt months ago, was freed in coincidence with the “release” of some Egyptian citizens, including diplomats who had been kidnapped by Libyan militias. The media spoke of a prisoner exchange, a claim Cairo has always strongly denied.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Hijab Hubbub Leads to Qatar Women’s Basketball Team Forfeit

The Qatari national women’s basketball team has forfeited a basketball game at the Asian Games after being told they would not be allowed to play wearing hijabs. Other Asian Games athletes have competed with hijabs.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Italy to Supply Training, In-Flight Refueling in ISIS Bid

Rome to evaluate other responses as situation evolves, minister

(ANSA) — Rome, September 23 — Italy has pledged a refuelling aircraft and military instructors for the US-led campaign against Islamic State (ISIS) militants operating in Syria and Iraq, Defence Minister Roberta Pinotti said Tuesday. “If there are other needs in future we will evaluate the response to make,” Pinotti said. “We have officers at the operation’s command headquarters in Tampa, Florida. They will update us on the programming and evolution of the situation,” she added.

The US is leading a broad coalition against ISIS militants, who have carved out swathes of Syria and Iraq into a self-proclaimed caliphate. Last week Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherina said Italy would not take part in air strikes against the terrorist organisation but that it might provide other kinds of military support.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pentagon: New Airstrikes Target Refineries Used by ISIS in Syria

Washington (CNN) — U.S. and coalition warplanes pounded ISIS positions in eastern Syria on Wednesday, targeting what a Pentagon official described as mobile oil refineries being used by the so-called Islamic State terror group.

The latest round of airstrikes were aimed at cutting off money flowing to ISIS, which makes up to $2 million a day from oil produced by the refineries, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, the Pentagon spokesman, told CNN.

Fighter jets from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates flew alongside U.S. aircraft during the operation, hitting 12 locations, Kirby said.

The airstrikes came just hours after U.S. President Barack Obama called for united action to confront ISIS, also referred to as ISIL.

“It is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along fault lines of tribe or sect; race or religion,” Obama said in an address before the U.N. General Assembly.

“This is not simply a matter of words. Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment.”

At the same time, Obama stressed that the United States “is not and never will be at war with Islam.”

More airstrikes

The latest airstrikes follow another round were carried out overnight Tuesday into Wednesday against five more targets: four in Iraq and one in Syria, U.S. Central Command said.

In Syria, a U.S. aircraft and coalition plane struck an ISIS staging area near the Iraqi border, northwest of Al Qa’im, damaging eight ISIS vehicles.

In Iraq, two airstrikes west of Baghdad destroyed two ISIS armed vehicles and a weapons cache. Two airstrikes southeast of the city of Irbil destroyed ISIS fighting positions.

The latest raids come on the heels of major airstrikes in Syria early Tuesday.

Obama’s call for action comes as he faces questions about his decision to bomb terror groups in Syria without approval from the U.N. Security Council or U.S. Congress…

[Return to headlines]

Renzi Says Mobilisation Against ISIS, Not Against Islam

(AGI) New York, Sept. 24 — Talking to the press at the United Nations, Prime Minister Matteo Renzi reiterated that mobilisation against ISIS is not a war on Islam, but an attempt to stop genocide. The premier said he agreed with the speech made by President Obama and with how he had emphasised that the offensive against the jihadists was not a clash of civilisations.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Syrian Rebels Deny Existence of Khorasan Terror Group

(AGI) Beirut, Sept 24 — Syrian rebels and opponents of the Assad regime have denied that the group known as Khorasan exists. Like the Islamic State, Khorasan has become a target of air strikes. The spokesman for the Islamic Front, the main Syrian armed Syrian alliance, says it has no information about this group. According to the U.S. Defense Department and President Obama, Khorasan, which is a cell of the al Nusra Front, was planning “imminent” attacks against the U.S. and Western interests.

           — Hat tip: C. Cantoni [Return to headlines]

Turkey Lifts Headscarf Ban in State High Schools

Turkey’s secular opposition on Tuesday accused the government of President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of seeking to impose religion on society after it lifted a ban on female students wearing the Islamic headscarf in high schools.

Erdogan, who co-founded the ruling Islamic-rooted Justice and Development Party (AKP), has long been accused by opponents of eroding the secular values of the Turkish state.

But the lifting of the ban on wearing the Islamic headscarf — or hejab — at state high schools removed one of the most contentious and significant aspects of Turkey’s secular system.

Deputy Prime Minister Bulent Arinc, a close Erdogan ally, announced that an amendment was made to the dress code regulations for female students to say they will not be forced to keep their heads uncovered.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Turkey: What Ally?

by Burak Bekdil

The Turkish government “frankly worked” with the al-Nusrah Front, the al-Qaeda affiliate in Syria, along with other terrorist groups.

The Financial Task Force, an international body setting the standards for combating terrorist financing, ruled that Turkey should remain in its “gray list.”

While NATO wishes to reinforce its outreach to democracies such as Australia and Japan, Turkey is trying to forge wider partnerships with the Arab world, Russia, China, Central Asia, China, Africa and — and with a bunch of terrorist organizations, including Hamas, Muslim Brotherhood, Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Nusrah Front.

Being NATO’s only Muslim member was fine. Being NATO’s only Islamist member ideologically attached to the Muslim Brotherhood is quite another thing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

U.N. Security Council Blacklists Foreign Fighters, Recruiters

A United Nations Security Council committee blacklisted on Tuesday more than a dozen foreign extremist fighters, fundraisers and recruiters tied to militant groups in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Tunisia and Yemen, including a senior Islamic State leader.

Individuals from France, Saudi Arabia, Norway, Senegal and Kuwait are among those targeted by the Security Council’s al Qaeda sanctions committee for an arms embargo, global travel ban and asset freeze.

Also blacklisted is Norwegian Anders Cameroon Ostensvig Dale. He is described as a member of al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula who made several trips to Yemen where he was trained to make bomb belts, improvised explosive devices and car bombs. “Dale’s ability to travel to many countries without visa restrictions has the potential to be used by AQAP to carry out an attack in those countries,” according to the U.N. listing.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Russian Magnate Rotenberg’s Italian Assets Frozen

Properties worth 30 mn frozen under EU sanctions over Ukraine

(ANSA) — Rome, September 23 — Finance police on Tuesday froze Italian assets worth 30 million euros belonging to a powerful Russian businessman under European Union sanctions against Moscow over its role in Ukraine.

The assets, owned by Arkadi Rotenberg, include three villas on the holiday island of Sardinia and a four-star hotel in central Rome, according to Italian newspaper reports.

Rotenberg, 62, is a professional martial arts instructor and old friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Companies owned by the magnate won contracts linked to this year’s Winter Olympics in Sochi worth $7 billion. He is fifth on the list of businessmen affected by EU sanctions against Russia for allegedly fuelling the pro-Russia uprising in eastern Ukraine. On Tuesday Rotenberg defined the asset freeze as “illegitimate” and “absurd”.

“I have been under sanctions for several months and nothing surprises me any more,” he was quoted by Russian news agency Interfax as saying.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

India Joins Elite Mars Club

India joined the elite club of Mars explorers today as the Mangalyaan probe manoeuvred into the red planet’s orbit according to plan. Until now, only the United States, the former Soviet Union and the European Space Agency had conducted missions that successfully reached Mars, and India’s space programme is the first one to do so in its first attempt.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

Philippines Jihadist Group Threatens to Kill German Hostages

‘War on depravation’ Kerry tells intl anti-ISIS alliance

(ANSA) — Cairo, September 24 — A Philippines-based jihadist terror group reportedly threatened to kill two German hostages unless their country stops supporting United States air strikes against Islamic State (ISIS) fundamentalists in Syria and Iraq, sources said Wednesday.

The jihadist organization calling itself Abu Sayyaf Group also asked Germany to ransom the two hostages, who were abducted in April.

Germany replied that its anti-ISIS strategy won’t change.

Also on Wednesday, US Secretary of State John Kerry called on the international community to stand together against ISIS.

“This war affects us all,” Kerry said on the third day of US air strikes against the fundamentalist militia in Syria and Iraq.

“It’s a war against depravation and evil”.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

Pope Says Church Must Combat Hostility to Migrants

Even within own ranks

(ANSA) — Vatican City, September 23 — Pope Francis on Tuesday said the Catholic Church must combat hostility to migrants, even within its own ranks. “Often…migration gives rise to suspicion and hostility, even in ecclesial communities, prior to any knowledge of the migrants’ lives or their stories of persecution and destitution,” the pope wrote in his message for the World Day of Migrants and Refugees, which will be commemorated on January 18.

“In such cases, suspicion and prejudice conflict with the biblical commandment of welcoming with respect and solidarity the stranger in need…

“Jesus Christ is always waiting to be recognized in migrants and refugees, in displaced persons and in exiles, and through them he calls us to share our resources, and occasionally to give up something of our acquired riches”.

Francis also said that migration movements are on such a scale that only “a systematic and active cooperation between States and international organizations” can effectively manage them.

“A more decisive and constructive action is required, one which relies on a universal network of cooperation, based on safeguarding the dignity and centrality of every human person,” the Argentine pontiff added. “This will lead to greater effectiveness in the fight against the shameful and criminal trafficking of human beings, the violation of fundamental rights, and all forms of violence, oppression and enslavement”.

Also on Tuesday, the director of the Italian Bishops’ Conference’s Migrantes Foundation said nearly 4,000 migrants have found shelter in convents and other religious institutions following an appeal by Pope Francis.

“In recent weeks religious institutions have been renovating their premises together with the dioceses, for example Salerno, in order to tackle the arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants on southern Italian shores,” said Monsignor Giancarlo Perego during the presentation of Francis’ message for the World day for migrants and refugees on January 18, 2015, on the theme ‘A Church with no frontiers, Mother of all’. Perego went on to recall how Italy has no “organic plan” for offering hospitality to migrants, a fact that “penalises minors in particular”. Francis has spoken up for migrants on several occasions during his 18-month papacy.

Earlier this month he praised Italy’s “admirable” Mare Nostrum sea-rescue program that has saved thousands of desperate migrants fleeing war and famine for safety in Europe.

The pope praised the work of the Italian government as well as the Navy’s sailors and officers involved in the program established almost one year ago after two migrant boat disasters that killed about 400 people.

Francis said the program, which is to be replaced in November by a larger European initiative called Frontex Plus, was “admirable work”.

“Thank you for your admirable work on behalf of so many brothers and sisters in search of hope. Thank you. Thank you so much,” said the pope.

Mare Nostrum (Our Sea) has been controversial, with some political parties complaining that it has encouraged human traffickers.

Francis showed his sympathy and concern for migrants soon after he was elected pope, by travelling in March 2013 to visit a migrant centre in Lampedusa, Italy’s southern-most spot and the closest European landing point to North Africa.

           — Hat tip: Insubria [Return to headlines]

UK: Gang Offers to Arrange Sham Gay Weddings for Immigration Cheats

Criminal gangs were offering to arrange sham gay weddings for people wanting to bypass immigration controls within weeks of same sex marriages being made legal in March, a report said.

An investigation by the BBC programme Inside Out discovered that one gang organises sham gay marriages for a £10,000 fee.

Peter and Ricardo, the gang’s leaders, told undercover reporters they had “fixed” weddings “lots of times”.

They offered two potential fake Romanian brides to the reporter, both of whom explicitly stated they were not lesbians but were willing to pretend to be gay and marry anyone for cash.

One of the girls, Alexandra, said she had organised six previous sham weddings and knew how to deceive immigration officers.

           — Hat tip: Fjordman [Return to headlines]

3 thoughts on “Gates of Vienna News Feed 9/24/2014

  1. Somali, with the title “Norway’s first suicide bomber”, met with then Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg in the parliament in 2010, according to NRK. The Somali Al Shabaab suicide bomber arrived in Norway in 2005, and carried a Norwegian passport. In 2014 he attacked a hotel north of Mogadishu, by driving a truck with explosives into the hotel, killing eight.

  2. So beheadings are going on at a singularly regular pace. Hey western media: why don’t you talk about them or even mention them?

    Western media: There is an understanding between us (media) and our very democratic countries to hide atrocities committed by the religion of perfect peace.

    – And why is that?
    Media: Well just our rulers in the west are mesmerized by this looming “religion”
    – Why is word “religion” surrounded by invertedcommas?
    Media: because it is unique under the sun, has its own unique characteristics, and the only “thing” admired and respected by our democratic rulers.

    – What – do you mean our rulers have no respect for Judeo-Christianity?
    Media: No, they are ashamed of both. But proud of islam. They keep visiting mosques.
    – Isn’t that against the law?
    – No. Democratic Rulers can prevent you from doing good things. But you cannot prevent them from doing bad things.
    – Then how can you call that democracy?
    – Well because tongues have no thorns in them.

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